Let us relay a beautiful story about a caterpillar who led much of its life presuming that it had come into being only to eat and sleep and do what the other caterpillars were doing. After feeling unhappy and a strange sense of longing for quite some time, it sensed that its life had another uncharted dimension and it thus decided to become still and silent. It started hanging from the branch of a tree, weaving a cocoon around itself and although this layer felt constrained and uncomfortable initially, the caterpillar waited with a new sense of awareness.
Its patience finally bore fruit, for when the cocoon burst open, the lowly worm that went in had transmuted into a beautiful, resplendent, winged butterfly that dazzled the sky. It soared high and flew into the open skies feeling free and unbounded, no longer limited to its worm-like existence. The caterpillar had been transformed into an epitome of air, lightness, magic and beauty.
Once the metamorphosis had taken place, it was impossible for the butterfly to return to being a worm. The caterpillar seemed to have become one with its inner being in the cocoon, and in this union it touched its ultimate potential. What may have happened in the cocoon can be described as Yoga – the path towards being limitless.
Yoga transforms and liberates human beings so that they can reach this unbounded state. Humans, unlike animals, are not merely existing, they are becoming. In order to evolve as a human being, one has to become aware of one’s limitations and strive towards the transcendence for which we all possess the potential.
YOGA, MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION
The ancient yogic discipline is far more than just a fitness method for physical health or a psychological tool to achieve peace and happiness. Wellness of body, mind and soul, often touted as the key benefit of modern yoga practice, is merely a by-product of becoming a completely balanced and vibrant human being.
The Sanskrit word “yoga” originates from the word “yuj” which means “to unite”. Hence, yoga is the union of the individual with the whole of existence, also commonly referred to as “self-realization/ nirvana/ mukti or enlightenment”.
Yoga was originally imparted by the Adiyogi (the first yogi), Shiva, over 15,000 years ago. It was Adiyogi who introduced the idea to humanity that one can evolve beyond one’s present level of existence. He poured his knowing into the legendary Sapta Rishis, or seven sages, who carried the tremendous responsibility, offered by the yogic science, to various parts of the world, including Asia, Ancient Persia, Northern Africa, and South America. It is this fundamental yet sophisticated science of elevating human consciousness that is the source of the world’s spiritual traditions, predating religion by many thousands of years.